To mark World Heart Day (September 29), we’ve put together 6 great ways to improve your heart health.
Simply opting for healthier lifestyle choices really can make all the difference.
That means aiming for your five-a-day, stopping smoking and watching alcohol intake.
Other ways to improve your heart health, include:
6 ways to help reduce your risks:
Keep on moving
Being chained to your desk or slumped in front of the TV all day is very bad news for your heart, but you don’t need to join a gym or invest in a leotard – a daily walk is exactly what a healthy heart needs. Studies show you can slash your risk of heart disease by getting regular activity into your life – but no dawdling! Power forwards fast enough to get a little puffed.
No, not the dance move (though it wouldn’t do you any harm), but flossing your teeth. Be sure to floss once or even twice a day to keep your gums clean, as studies show dental disease can be an even greater cardio risk factor than smoking. Inflammation from gum disease allows bacteria to enter the blood stream, where they activate the immune system, making artery walls inflamed and narrowed, increasing heart attack risk.
Unwind with a hobby
Stress is a known risk factor for heart disease, so make sure you factor in time each day for hobbies or activities that you enjoy. Putting your hands to work with knitting needles, or sewing, can help you to unwind. Cooking and jigsaw puzzles are great heart-healthy ways to de-stress, too.
Know your numbers
It is important to ask your GP for regular checks of your blood pressure and cholesterol as small hikes in either can increase your risk of heart problems. This is particularly so for women in middle-age when the protective effects of the hormone oestrogen start to tail off.
A diet packed with sugar and refined carbohydrates (such as bread, cakes, pastries and biscuits) and a daily tipple could put you at risk of type 2 diabetes – an estimated one third of adults have diabetes without even knowing it. Even in its early stages (as pre-diabetes) the condition is bad news for your heart, so cut right back on the white stuff.
Finally, the last of our 6 great ways to improve your heart includes diet. If you feel tired all the time it could be a sign of anaemia, which may be putting undue pressure on your heart. Increase your iron intake naturally by eating plenty of dark green leafy vegetables. You can also include dark red meat, pork and poultry, to boost iron intake, too.
For more health tips from “The People’s Friend”, click here